Apparently cats like treats because it’s genetically programed into them. Int he early days, cats were wild animals so to convince cats to stick around, humans rewarded them with treats. Washington University genomics expert Wes Warren said in a press release, “we were surprised to find DNA evidence of their domestication.”

The scientists compared the DNA of housecoats with the genes of wildcats, tigers, humans, cows and dogs. Tame cats, as it turns out, express traits that make living alongside humans a little bit easier. Biologists believe rewards — like treats — make a bigger impact on the cats who eventually became domesticated. “Humans most likely welcomed cats because they controlled rodents that consumed their grain harvests,” said Warren. “We hypothesized that humans would offer cats food as a reward to stick around.”

So the next time you reward your cat, you’re setting into motion a long, slow, gradual change in modifying your cat’s behavior. Keep it up. We need all the friendly, tame cats we can get.

To read more about how cats have evolved to like treats, click here.